Acedia: the lost name for the emotion we’re all feeling right now
My boss sent me this article on Acedia, which I had never heard of but boy, did it hit home.
Acedia: a strange combination of listlessness, undirected anxiety, and inability to concentrate.
As far as I’m concerned, this is my word for the pandemic. It is exactly how I’m feeling, and I’ve been feeling, for months now. I do have spurts of energy now and then, but for the most part, I feel like I have to force myself to do the most basic things. Laundry. Making the bed. Cleaning.
On the other hand, little things bring me joy. My daughter getting an A in her drawing class. Being able to “polish” my nails – I’m using stick on polish, but hey, it makes me happy. Black kitties for Halloween!
Other small joys – talking to friends on the phone or Facetime. My co-workers and my boss have really been a lifeline for me. And I swear work has kept me sane. It forces me to know what day of the week it is! I’m still working remotely most of the time, but I go into the library three mornings a week. It’s nice to see people! Even if it is behind masks and plexiglass.
I was really nervous about Halloween. I wanted to just put out a table with candy on it, but my husband wanted to answer the door. Masked, of course. I do love seeing the little ones in costume, but isn’t that what our security cameras are for? I have to say this holiday is my husband’s favorite and this was the first time I’ve really seen him down about the pandemic. He went old school on carving the pumpkin, and we did get a few trick-or-treaters, so that made him feel a little better. But then it started to rain, so that put an end to it all.
I still don’t go out much. I have been to Costco a few times with my husband, and a few weeks ago I started going to Trader Joe’s again. There is no TJ’s nearby, but it is not too far from work, so I sometimes go after work on my lunch hour, maybe every 2-3 weeks. They haven’t been that busy in the middle of the day, they are constantly cleaning the carts, everyone wears a mask, and for the most part, people keep their distance. Plus it doesn’t take long to go through the store, it is a small grocery store. And they take Apple pay. Can I tell you how much I love just tapping my Apple watch to pay? Handsfree! Even Publix finally started taking it, and I’ve been there a few times as well. Once at 7:00 am on a Sunday when they opened, a couple of times around 6:00 pm, dinner time, and it was pretty quiet.
The only other trip that I take somewhat regularly is to visit my mother-in-law. She’s 95 years old and lives in an assisted living facility. With all the horror stories out there about these places, I have to give kudos to Acts Retirement Life Communities. They have done an outstanding job keeping everyone safe, both the residents and the staff. There have been a few Covid cases, but nothing like I keep seeing on the news. For a long time, we couldn’t visit at all, then they started letting us visit through a glass door using Facetime. They also did a questionnaire at the guard gate and took our temperature. Then they let us visit inside, but first, they gave us the 15 minute Covid tests. Once we got negative results, we were able to visit face to face. My mother-in-law has been a real trooper through all of this.
Covid cases are on the rise in Florida, as they are in most parts of the country. This is usually the time of year when it is finally cool enough to sit outside, but not this year. It’s been raining like crazy for weeks – we’ve been under a flood watch, off and on, for days now. And when it does stop raining, it’s hot and muggy – high 80s, low 90’s hot. I live in Palm Beach County and the county keeps extending the mask mandate, thank goodness. Not that everyone complies. Trump was here to vote the other day at the Main Library in West Palm Beach. He walked through, no mask, of course. And brought his special lighting???
Our sycophant governor has forced open everything so restaurants and bars are packed, people are going to the gym again, the public libraries are now open regular hours, and the kids are back in school. And guess what – Covid numbers are rising!
The election is in a few days. My husband, daughter, and I all did mail-in ballots. We do have early voting, but even at 7:00 in the morning, the lines have been hours long. The supervisor of elections put waiting times at each location on their website, and after checking several times a day we decided to stick with the mail-in ballots. They actually put “ballot vans” at each early voting location, but our intrepid local news reporter followed up on some voters who used the van and it was taking days before the election office received their ballots. So we went directly to the supervisor of election’s office and used their dropbox. It’s like a small mailbox right outside the building. A day later, our votes showed that they had been received and were problem-free. So three votes for Biden-Harris!
I have this platform and as we are mere days away from what is probably the most important election of my lifetime, I’d like to say a few things. Feel free to comment if you like.
I have been horrified on a daily basis since our president took office. It started with his descent down the escalator calling Mexicans rapists, and it still hasn’t ended. Every day is another shit show. Packing the courts with conservative judges so majority rule has become minority rule, with judges and justices weighing in on decisions that they have no business interfering in. Pushing through a new Supreme Court justice days before the election – 38 days after RBG’s death – after Republicans stole the seat from Obama ten months before the election. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling!
Charlottesville. The president calling white supremacists “very fine people” as they were shouting “Jews will not replace us.” I’m Jewish, by the way. The horrific practice of separating children, even nursing babies, from their parents and putting them in cages. And now, four years later over 500 children whose parents the government can’t find.
Black Lives Matter! The president has fueled the systemic racism in this country and sought to divide us. He throws gasoline on every fire while proclaiming himself to have done more for the Black community than any president since Lincoln. (Actually, Johnson holds the honor of having done the most for the Black community.) The president compares himself to Lincoln, yet ignores one of the most important things Lincoln ever said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” It breaks my heart to know that Black parents have to teach their children to be so careful when they leave the house, while they are outside, while driving, while living. It’s wrong on so many levels and this president derides the protestors. He had peaceful protestors tear gassed so he could take a picture in front of a church, holding a bible. A church that he never attends. I was surprised that the bible didn’t just spontaneously burst into flames in his hands.
Family values from a man three times married, who cheated on all his wives, lusts after daughter, has been accused of sexual harassment and rape, not just by one or two women, but more than a dozen. Caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. These “values” voters really need to re-examine their values.
The impeachment. Russian collusion. He’s trying it again now with that bullshit story Rudy Giuliani fed the NY Post, a tabloid, not a newspaper. The writer of the article refused to put his name on it. The president’s minions would not turn over the supposedly egregious emails to newspapers to fact check them. Even the news people on Fox News are not talking about it – only the talking heads, the commentators are talking about it. Night after night. And I’m happy to add, to little or no avail.
Suburban women are not the stupid followers our president thinks they are. I love this commercial from “Red, Wine & Blue Ohio,” a group of suburban moms. At his rallies he “threatens” that if Biden gets into office, he will send Cory Booker to the suburbs, trying to incite fear of low-income housing and race-baiting, circa the 1970’s and “All in the Family.” Instead, these women fought back and showed how they really feel.
There’s so much more. I read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal daily and I get news alerts on my phone. Literally every day, there is some story about something this administration is doing or has done that enrages me. Every. Single. Day.
Our standing in the world as a superpower is teetering on the brink. We are a global laughingstock due to this president and his temper and his lack of any kind of self-control. His Twitter account!
Can we talk about his taxes? THE PRESIDENT’S TAXES: Trump Records Shed New Light on Chinese Business Pursuits How he paid more taxes in China than he does here? He’s not that smart, he’s that crooked. And thanks to the New York Times, now we know. He and his family have taken the office of the president and turned it into a cash machine. Also the Washington Post: Ballrooms, candles and luxury cottages: During Trump’s term, millions of government and GOP dollars have flowed to his properties
Foreign governments know they just have to spend a bit at one of his hotels to get anything they want. He brags about how dictators like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, and Kim Jong Un of North Korea all want him to win reelection. That is NOT a good thing! They want him to win because they know he will do anything they want, and that, more than almost anything else, frightens me.
I love the billboard the Lincoln Project put up in Times Square, using the picture Ivanka had posted with a can of beans in her hand after Goya kicked in some serious money to the president. Because that’s what this administration does, free advertising for anyone who makes a sizeable donation.
The environmental laws he’s had rescinded. He’s ignored science all the way through his administration, from global warming to the pandemic. I cannot and will not overlook the elephant in the room: Covid-19.
It’s time to talk about the Coronavirus. The very reason for this series of essays I’ve been writing. The president knew how deadly it was in JANUARY and chose not to tell the American people. He’s still playing it down, calls it “boring”. Chose not to have American factories gear up to produce PPE or masks or any other supplies needed to protect our front line and essential workers. Used the provisions in the law already in place, renamed it Project Warp Speed or whatever and takes credit for rushing a vaccination through. He tried to get at least one manufacturer to say they would have it ready before Election Day, but no one would promise that. Meanwhile, almost 225.000 Americans dead. As far as I’m concerned, this president is a mass murderer.
Life as we know it has changed. So many small businesses gone while many of the small business loans Congress approved went to big companies who weren’t entitled to the money. Companies that received loans that were designed to cover payroll and instead, took the money and laid off their employees. So much abuse. So little oversight.
Now the administration admits it has given up. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went on CNN and said “We are not going to control the pandemic.” The president is taking advice on a deadly pandemic from a radiologist with some crazy ideas about killing another 200,000 people to achieve “herd immunity,” while doctors who specialize in infectious disease want us to wear masks – the very doctors our president called idiots. Governor Cuomo in New York proved that the virus could be contained with leadership. “It is what it is” is what the president has said and that is not leadership. We need a leader, more than ever, not someone who gives up and is fine with more Americans dying.
The Washington Post has a three-part documentary on how this administration has failed America on the pandemic. I highly recommend it, even though it is totally depressing:
America’s failed response: A Post documentary analyzes how Trump politicized the pandemic and ignored decades of preparation. This three-part series explores the failed response to the coronavirus pandemic that has left 225,000 Americans dead. It also examines the role of past U.S. presidents and the steps they took to prevent such an event from debilitating the nation’s economy and health-care system.
Finally, the lies. OMG, the lies he tells over and over. Telling a lie multiple times doesn’t make it true, but it convinces some people there must be truth to it. Those people are morons. Trump is averaging more than 50 false or misleading claims a day according to the Washington Post, who has been fact-checking and tracking his lies since he took office. There have been so many that they are eight weeks behind! “As of Aug. 27, the tally in our database that tracks every errant claim by the president stood at 22,247 claims in 1,316 days.” That is INSANE! Oh, and while I’m talking about reporters doing their job, the only “fake news” is what the talking heads on Fox are spouting. The media is NOT the enemy of the people; freedom of the press is one of the founding principles of this country. I wish all those people who are so fervent about the 2nd amendment would hold the rest of the amendments so dearly.
Please vote. We need normalcy again. I’ve had enough hysteria and drama and insanity from this president. We need an administration that won’t end up with so many staff in prison. Someone in that oval office who cares more about Americans than lining his own pockets. Someone who wants to bring us together instead of tearing us apart. Someone who will surround himself with smart people and listen to them – what a concept!
We need Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!
Well said, you left no stone unturned.
I hope everyone who is eligible votes. Fortunately, when I went to vote early, there was no line. I watched a video of people in other countries reacting to the USA’s response to Covid-109 – they were all shaking their heads in disbelief.
Well said, my dear, well said!
Thank you for this essay. I just finished Woodward’s book and at the end he specifically urges folks to not reelect DT. So much anxiety because a mean cruel man cheated his way into the White House. Only a few more days anxiety. I, like you, took my ballot to the registrar’s office to put in the drop box. Again, thanks so much for using your platform to write the truth and to urge sanity. peace, janz
Oops – I forgot to mention one of my favorite authors, Kathleen Norris. She is a peaceful gentle writer. I heard her in 2008, just after she had published, “Acedia and me.” I think her best is “Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.” I read her to calm, to settle my mind. In fact, I am going back to Acedia and me tonight. If you don’t know her, give her a try. A wonderful writer. peace, janz
Thanks, Jan. I’ll look for her books!